'Better guidelines needed' for severe heart attacks

18 December 2012

Improved guidelines will allow healthcare specialists to better treat people who have experienced the most extreme types of heart attacks, according to the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

They bring emphasis on a specific type of heart attack known as ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). This happens when a cholesterol plaque bursts and a blood clot forms within the artery that leads to the heart.

A total blockage effectively occurs, and so, as blood is unable to flow properly, the result is a heart attack.

"Time is of the essence in the evaluation and treatment of these patients," explained Patrick O'Gara, chair of the guidelines writing committee. "The sooner blood flow is restored, the better the chances for survival with intact heart function."

Key points expressed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology were for improved recognition among patients that they are exhibiting heart attack symptoms and the need for them to call for emergency services immediately; a greater use of hypothermia, a type of cooling that is considered effective in the treatment of heart attacks; and providing aftercare so that rehabilitation works and ensures people are well-looked after.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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